On Saturday, February 6, 2021, Opal Mae Delt (Tate) passed away at her home in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Her family gathered round her as she began her next journey. Throughout her 80 years, she left an indelible mark — on the she places she visited, the friends she made, and the children she raised.
Opal Mae was born on January 29, 1941. The eldest of two children, she exhibited an independent nature early in life. It served her well throughout her many adventures. After moving to Fort Smith from Oklahoma with her family as a young child, Opal Mae set her sights beyond the city she had come to admire. In the 1960s, she moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where she met her husband Marion Tate and had her first child, Lisa Avant. Though Cleveland was a good place to live, and allowed her to complete a Certificate (AA Degree), in what then was then known as Secretary School.
Opal Mae’s wandering heart led her back home to Fort Smith, where she met and married Leonard Embry (Kiddo). This union brought her second child Toni Dukes – Larkins. Ever the pursuer of life she moved again, this time to the big city of Los Angeles. She was a beautiful, classy woman who loved to put on her go-go boots, adorn herself in the best perfume, and go dancing.
Always one to roll with the punches, life’s circumstances had her return to Oklahoma to be with her mother. Opal Mae possessed a strong work ethic and a heart for community. Independent and strong she worked hard to successfully raise her children on her own. She served the River Valley Community in many capacities. Faithful, active church member, social clubs participate, candy striper and employee for many companies in the Fort Smith area. In November 1974, she took a position with ABF, shortly after her youngest child, Jurena L. Storm. This was a special period in Opal Mae’s life. While raising her three daughters, she shared her exuberant appreciation for the simple joys of life that her mom — who grew up in the 1920s — had missed. This opportunity at ABF allowed her to provide for her mother creature comforts that her mother wouldn’t do for herself. Opal Mae made the decision to retire from ABF in November 1996, in order to spend more time with her mother and care for her. Unfortunately, her mother passed in September before she was able to retire and fulfill her dream. Nevertheless, Opal Mae carried fond memories of her mother, our grandmother, and continued to exhibit all that she was taught.
It was the relationships she forged with family and friends that Opal Mae treasured most, but she had another side too. She could be demanding. She expected much of herself — even more from her daughters. She pushed them to always do their best, to continue reaching, to continue moving forward, and to get their educations, to be ladies and to always remember who they are - And they do.
Opal Mae was a member of Mount Triumphant Missionary Baptist Church in Fort Coffee, Oklahoma, for over 40 years before where she faithfully followed the teachings of the Word of God in her giving practices. Due to her transportation needs she moved her membership the Northside Church of God in Christ in Fort Smith where Elder James J. Watson is Pastor.
She was a woman of deep faith, modesty, and vigor for this world. It is with that same faith that she harbored that her family knows they are being watched over by this remarkable matriarch.
Opal Mae Delt was proceed in death by her mother and father. She leaves behind her brother James Thomas, ex-husband James Delt, her oldest daughter Lisa Avant, her daughter Toni Dukes-Larkins and husband Jewel, and her youngest daughter Jurena Storm and husband Andy and her adopted son in love R.C. Simmons.
Her grandchildren Jerrell and Charity Orbih, Deshawn Avant and Damon Randle Jr., Anika Austin- Lockett and husband Andre and Angus Storm.
Her great-grandchildren Aniyah Wiley and Elijah and Josiah Lockett.
Along with a host of Aunts, Uncles, Nieces, Nephews and lifelong friends, classmates and co-workers. Opal Mae Delt will be deeply missed.
Funeral services will be 1pm Saturday, February 13, 2021 at the St. James Missionary Baptist Church in Fort Smith, Arkansas under the direction of Mallory-Martin Funeral Home of Spiro, Oklahoma. Viewing hours will be 9am-7pm at the funeral home with the family visiting with friends from 6pm-7pm Saturday at the funeral home.